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Cheektowaga's tax base increased more than $1 million this past year, a tiny gain compared to the town's $2 billion tax roll, but an encouraging sign after Cheektowaga saw three years of declining taxable property.

Cheektowaga -- long past its construction heyday -- saw a drop in total taxable valuation of $29 million in 1995, $2.3 million in 1996 and $2.2 million in 1997, said Assessor William R. Conway.

Cheektowaga's 1998 total taxable assessment, however, went up $1,164,471 to $2.161 billion, thanks to some new construction, Conway said.

Construction of a Wal-Mart on Walden Avenue, a Sleep Inn on Holtz Road and an addition at St. Joseph's Hospital were among the larger Cheektowaga projects added to tax rolls, said Ronald S. Marten, supervising building inspector in the town's Building Department.

There would have been a greater increase in the tax base, Conway said, but the town lost nearly $4 million in taxable property because of new senior citizen exemptions. In fact, the new senior tax breaks are a reason why some school districts saw a drop in total assessment, Conway said.

The tax rolls -- which closed Aug. 1 -- will be used to determine school taxes issued this fall as well as 1999 town and county taxes.

The Village of Sloan's total taxable valuation is $67.7 million, up $88,048. Meanwhile, the Cheektowaga portion of Depew showed a $246,137 dip in total taxable valuation to $228.8 million, after a Broadway business received a sizable assessment reduction. Depew village taxes are based on a separate tax roll prepared by the village.

Total taxable values for Cheektowaga portions of school districts are:

Cheektowaga Central, $671.2 million, up $2.6 million; Maryvale, $493.6 million, down $5.1 million; Cleveland Hill, $245.4 million, down $816,336; Depew, $226.2 million, down more than $1 million; Cheektowaga-Sloan, $255.1 million, up $1.4 million; Lancaster, $152.8 million, up $386,387; West Seneca, $216.2 million, down $981,228; and Williamsville, $3.1 million, up $61,455.

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